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April 2009 Geology and GSA Today media highlights
Date:3/31/2009

In contrast, the enormous oceanic plateaus and the continental Karoo flood basalts had lesser effects on the biosphere. The cooling effect of volcanic ash and sulphate aerosols injected into the stratosphere during Plinian eruptions may be the main cause of mass extinctions, but the volume of erupted basalt of each large igneous province does not correlate well with the extent of mass extinction. An alternative explanation is that the global climatic changes are related to the volatiles released during low-temperature contact metamorphism of the intruded rocks. Ganino and Arndt studied the Emeishan flood basalts that intruded a dolomitic basin, and calculated that the amount of sediment-derived carbon dioxide (CO2) was three times more than magmatic CO2 released from the Emeishan lavas and intrusions. The vented CO2 would have led to greenhouse conditions and intense global warming. Ganino and Arndt propose that the thermal decomposition of anhydrite, salt, limestone, hydrocarbons, and coal in other provinces provided a toxic cocktail that caused other mass extinctions. The Karoo and other provinces had little to no environmental impact because they were emplaced in sterile magmatic or sedimentary rocks.


Bedform-velocity matrix: The estimation of bottom current velocity from bedform observations
Dorrik A.V. Stow et al., IPE-ECOSSE, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh EH14 4AS, UK. Pages 327-330.

Deep-ocean currents continuously sculpt the seafloor beneath their course. In places, they generate ripples, sand waves, and giant mud waves over the backs of huge sediment mounds, while elsewhere they erode deep furrows and broad channels. Stow et al. have synthesized a large amount of published data, together with their own observations, to clearly document the link between current velocity and the type of seafloor feature (or bedform) generated. This will allow other ocean scientists to better ch
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Contact: Christa Stratton
cstratton@geosociety.org
303-357-1093
Geological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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